In the Environment and Climate Change Subcommittee hearing today, Subcommittee Republican Leader David B. McKinley (R-WV) delivered the following opening remarks about safe drinking water.
Excerpts and highlights from his prepared remarks:
ON THE NEED FOR PROPER OVERSIGHT
"But this committee will need to conduct rigorous oversight.
"Democrats have a history of prioritizing climate change over drinking water and putting urban interests ahead of rural ones.
"For example, President Obama cut funding for the state revolving funds for rural states by half.
"So, this committee must be vigilant to ensure that small and rural communities are not left out again."
In addition, Subcommittee Republican Leader McKinley asked Jim McGoff, President of the Council of Infrastructure Financing Authorities about how rural communities would be included for what counts as a "disadvantaged community."
LEADER MCKINLEY: "States each have their own idea of what a disadvantaged community is and whether it's urban or rural. So that both urban and rural communities are on a level playing field, how can we ensure that the population and need are part of the equal consideration as we go ahead? Need is huge for us in areas in West Virginia, Mississippi, and others that are struggling now to do this. How can we do that? How can we make sure that need is also included?"
JIM MCGOFF: "Thank you for the question. The SRF programs have been identifying and targeting disadvantaged communities for years. We are well-equipped. Each state has the ability and the flexibility to tailor their definitions of a "disadvantaged community' to fit their state's need. For example, in Indiana, we have both urban and very rural communities. Many of the rural communities are very much like what you described in some of the southern states and so our "disadvantaged community' definition recognizes very low median household income, high user rates. We target our grant funding that we have available and our forgivable loan funding that we have available, to those communities and the communities that can afford a standard interest rate. That's where we program those loans to."